Rated 3.0

James Bond (Daniel Craig) is on the trail of a shadowy crime organization just as he, M (Ralph Fiennes) and the Double-Oh program are falling into disfavor with higher-ups and threatened with retirement. Craig's fourth outing as 007 will please the fans despite several drawbacks: it's wildly overlong at 146 minutes, the opening sequence (which used to be a sample of more and better fun to come) is by far the best scene in the movie and the theme song (sung tooth-and-nail by Sam Smith) is one of the worst of the whole series. Saving the day (well, more or less) are the assets: Craig and Fiennes (naturally), Lea Seydoux as a particularly appealing Bond girl, and Christoph Waltz, who was born to play a Bond villain. Sam Mendes' direction is workmanlike, but the derivative script needed brutal editing. J.L.